Total enrollment at the nation’s osteopathic medical colleges now tops 21,600, a 4.5 percent increase over last year’s total enrollment, according to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM). Growth in the number of osteopathic medical school graduates will help mitigate looming physician shortages, especially in the critical primary care area.

Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP) has total current total enrollment of 1,110 students at its Pomona, Calif., campus and at its COMP-Northwest campus in Lebanon, Ore., according to the 2012-13 enrollment summary report issued by the WesternU Office of the Registrar.

Because WesternU opened COMP-Northwest in 2011, total enrollment for osteopathic medical students has increased significantly and will continue to grow significantly as COMP-Northwest enrolls students for all four classes.

“”Our commitment to increasing the number of physicians is evident within our own University,”” said Paula M. Crone, DO, executive associate dean of COMP-Northwest. “”Our students are passionate about their education and are committed to becoming the best physicians of the future.””

COMP-Northwest’s inaugural class enrolled 107 students in the 2011-12 academic year and enrolled 108 students this year.

Those numbers are part of AACOM’s announcement that the growth percentage in osteopathic enrollment will continue to increase as new campuses are developed or complete all four years of enrollment, and as established and existing colleges complete previously approved increases intheir class sizes.

Total enrollment at WesternU’s COMP during the 2010-11 academic year, before COMP-Northwest started, was 875 students.With the addition of COMP-Northwest in 2011, the enrollment for the 2011-12academic year was 989; the 2012-13 academic year increased to 1,110 students, a 12.2 percent increase.

This fall, 5,804 new students enrolled at one of the nation’s 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine, a 2.9 percent increase over last year’s incoming class, according to AACOM.

“”The increased enrollment in our nation’s osteopathic medical colleges is an encouraging sign for the future of health care,”” said Clinton E. Adams, DO, MPA, FACHE, dean of COMP. “”Over the last 35 years, COMP has graduated more than 4,200 physicians, and we look forward to growing that number.